The Myth of the Spinning Woman

Update: Apparently the right brain/left brain phenomenon is not actually true; check this article here. Oh well – I do still enjoy the optical illusion of the spinning woman. Also, if you want to get another hint, check this out.

My friend Andrew sent me a link to the image below (original news story here), and it’s pretty crazy. Basically if you see the woman below spinning clockwise – you are more right-brained; if you see her spinning counter-clockwise, you are more left-brained. It’s pretty crazy. Take a look and let us know what you see below in the comments. Last night, at first I saw her spinning clockwise but then once I saw her go counter-clockwise, I couldn’t get the clockwise view back. Sarah could only see the clockwise view for the longest time, but then she finally saw her go counter-clockwise. Have some fun with it. Probably the funnest part of this is trying to convince someone that she’s spinning differently than they see her – Sarah would NOT believe me that she was spinning counter-clockwise!

[And just a hint – for some reason, she tends to spin slower in Safari than in Firefox]

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Comments

  1. says

    Definitely clockwise. After a few minutes, I saw her make two counerclockwise half-turns. This just made me realize how crazy all the left-brainers are ;-).

  2. says

    @Natalie – yes, that was the coolest part I found out this morning – you CAN make her change. For me, if I held my fingers up and moved them in the opposite direction from what she was moving, she would change within 4-8 seconds. Pretty cool!

  3. says

    I started out seeing her clockwise, but I found if I hold my hand over her upper half for a second then I will see her counter clockwise after. Very interesting…hurts my mind to think too much about why. =\

  4. says

    I see her both ways, but I’ve found that closing your eyes and visualizing which way you WANT to see her spin helps. Somehow, controlling the image in my brain helps me “see” the image on the screen how I want to…

    There’s got to be some theological application in there…maybe not.

  5. says

    wow… i totally only see her going counter-clockwise. i thought it was a joke that she could possibly be going the other way… then i read the comments and found out a lot of people see her going clockwise. i’m going to try and work on making her switch.

  6. says

    Ak – normally I’m good at these visual things, making myself see both ways. But I definitely can’t make this image anything but clockwise. Ugh!

  7. kelly says

    Interesting… I at first saw her going counter-clockwise.. then after some concentration, she was going clock-wise for a bit… but now, I see her turning counterclockwise half way, then going back clock wise… never completing a full revolution, only 180 each time.

  8. says

    when i first looked at her i couldn’t see her spin – she just rotated back and forth, left to right and back again – without turning her back to me. my head hurts.

  9. Karen says

    Creepy. She was spinning counterclockwise as I read your post, but then I glanced over at the new comment column and back, and she was spinning clockwise. Again I have to say. Creeeeeeeepy!

  10. Andrew says

    Here’s the best way I’ve found to get her to switch back and forth: First, position the image near the top of your screen. Then fix your gaze and focus on the bottom edge of your screen. Without moving your gaze, be attentive to the motion she’s making above — and you should be able to imagine that she’s sweeping one foot out in front of her from right to left without spinning at all. When you’ve been able to see this, then, as her foot sweeps from left to right, look up at her again — you’ll see her move counter-clockwise. OR, as her feet sweeps right to left, look up at her again, and you’ll see her move clockwise.

  11. Jason Weaver says

    I am start out clockwise, but if I concentrate on her left arm I can see her going counter-clockwise! Then I have to stare at the text about a half inch out from the upper-right hand corner to reset my clockwise motion.

    When I change directions I kinda feel like Hiro…

  12. rachel says

    Furthermore, I could cross my eyes and make the resulting two images spin opposite each other. Weird! But what I really need to understand is why the spinny thing is so playboy-bunny-mup-flappish.

  13. says

    Clockwise, at first. I couldn’t see anything but a clockwise spin. Then I tried covering her upper-half up – as was suggested – and funny enough she started spinning counter-clockwise. Now, she only spins counter-clockwise. Interesting.

  14. Troy HB says

    I don’t have a clue what this means, but when I concentrate on the moving image, I can only get clockwise. Not even a whiff of the other direction. However, I tried Andrew’s trick of getting the image on the top of the screen. I could see the image going both ways when it was in my peripheral vision. Weird.

  15. Dave W says

    Whoa — That is trippy. I think it could entertain one for hours on end. It’s interesting to make it start and stop, while trying to see “which” direction she will go.

  16. says

    So glad you posted the hints. With the R and L on the legs, I can finally see it both ways, although without, I still can only see it go clockwise…

  17. says

    Crazy. My wife and I just spent forever looking at this and jokingly arguing about it. We finally figured out how to watch the image switch: Look at the shadow and she goes counterclockwise; look at her foot and she goes clockwise. Sarah was able to switch so fast that she never made a circle. It took me a couple of seconds. All I know is I sat there and analyzed it until I figured it out.

  18. youall says

    this is retarded, of course people will disagree on it’s direction, no point of reference was stated, even if it was only rotating one way it would be rotating opposite directions if you were looking up from the ground rather than looking down from above.

  19. bij says

    if you cover her body, so that just the top of her head and her foot is showing, it will make her spin the opposite way from which you initially see her spinning. (at least that worked for me)

  20. Vince says

    I just saw her spinning over and over and over and again and again. Poor thing got so dizzy she just fell face flat on the floor and hurt herself. Nah J/K . Pretty cool trick I also first started seeing her going clockwise then I covered her with one hand stared at her shadow below and pictured her going the opposite way and I would slowly start revealing her picture going up little by little until the whole picture was spinning counter clockwise. Guess it has to do with the silhouette or something

  21. Zeba says

    that is pretty cool…………i made her go in both directions quite easily
    its fabulous how the mind works…………..both left and right

  22. says

    Well it started out spining counter clock wise but when i started reading what you wrote it switched to counter and after a few moments I found that I could swap her back and forth with a little effort. :) awesome find.

  23. Alex says

    At first she was spinning around in this cute dress. I kept staring at her, and sure enough, five minutes later she was naked!

  24. Mike says

    I can and make her changer whenver i want. Cool. just stare at her for a few seconds and then suddenly try to focus on her feets shadow, she will change definetly. Kinda Weird. I can make her go Clockwise or Anti-clockwise eitherway. What does that mean. I’m right/left brained.. I use my whole brain not just a side. lol

  25. shakesONE says

    WOW hahaha… i stared at this for like 5 minutes and she was constantly going clockwise then i tried a few tricks with my eyes, i tried making my eyes go out of focus and then re-focus and then she went counter-clockwise, very interesting, now i can make her change from clockwise to counter easily!!

    nice.

  26. Nicole says

    I think she just spins both ways. If you watch her legs, when she spins clockwise it’s her right leg…then the image starts to spin faster and slightly out of orbit, or unbalanced, then it switches, very slyly, to her left leg and going counter-clockwise. I don’t think this is a left brain/right brain experiment – I think she literally just switches directions.

  27. james says

    At first, she was only going clockwise, then I looked at her foot’s reflection and she changed, then I could change her at will.

  28. Kevin says

    Just reload the page a few times. It changes randomly on load. This is an annoying picture. Still, it is amusing how many people say they can see both at the same time. They are either attention starved or mentally ill.

  29. David Mills says

    I can see her spin in either direction, but I must admit that I wasn’t thinking about that until you brought it up.

  30. any says

    If you stop ‘trying’ to see it differently and just watch it you see the image change every minute or two, sometimes a little longer. The ‘illusion’ is that there is no illusion, only the suggestion that you are seeing the same image differently. It’s two images.

  31. cliff says

    to all those that say the image randomly switches or is random based on reload, or that there are two images etc, just have not looked at this picture before or long enough.

    There is only one picture. You see it differently because there is actually no rotation going on. Instead of the thinking about the image ‘rotating’, think of the image as ‘swishing’ back and forth in the horizontal direction. Your eye sees rotations based on common visual cues. It is interesting that some people have a preference for seeing it one way or the other, but it isn’t a left brain right brain thing. It’s just because the image is carefully crafted to satisfy both visual models of clockwise and counterclockwise rotation simultaneously.

    Save the file locally and look at the frames if you’re not convinced.

  32. says

    I think maybe someone’s height influences it. I’m 6’4″ and saw her going clockwise, looking down on her slightly. When my perception changed to counter clockwise the perspective is then looking slightly up at her. Maybe children or shorter people would tend to see that direction…
    It’s a good illusion from the amount of comments insisting that it actually changes direction.

  33. Greg says

    This image is NOT ambiguous. She is absolutely, 100%,. spinning counter clock wise. Notice that you can see the shadow of her extended leg for half of each rotation. It obviously is behind her, since the ground in front of her is out of the picture. When you can see this shadow, it moves to the left. This means that when her leg is on the other side of her body, it is moving to the left. Q.E.D. she rotates counterclockwise.

  34. pakbehl says

    the key to tricking you mind into switching the directions is to watch the shadow. It simplifies the image, and once you convince yourself that the shadow is of a person moving counter/clockwise, then the rest of the image will automatically change.

  35. bachstail says

    cliff’s right, it’s just a swishing image, we feed it the illusion of rotation.

    anyway, the trick that worked for me hasn’t been posted, I think. the idea is to think about the right leg/left leg thing, while unfocusing your sight from the image – so that instead of seeing the silhouette you actually see a blur. then decide which way you want her to spin, then focus again.

  36. Kirsten says

    I saw it going one way at first, but after staring at the image I isolated the bottom foot for a while, it was clear that it was swishing back and forth. When the foot is in line with the rest of the leg, you can just convince yourself of which way you see it rotating. I think it’s just a matter of tricking your mind. I tried it with the shadow, and that works as well. It really is facinating how our brains work.

  37. Thing says

    Hmm… for me it worked to try to think of it as a 2D image instead of a 3D object. It started clockwise too, but now I can swoosh it back and forth easily enough. True, it’s a bit less difficult to make her go clockwise. Such a fun game :P

  38. NA says

    At first, I can only see it clockwise. Almost go crazy trying to make it counter. I tried the above tricks but doesn’t work. I sent out the picture asking my friends how to see it both ways. One of my friends replied with the following answer and it worked for me and for my colleagues EVERY TIME. Here’s how:

    Step back a bit and rotate your head slowly until your view to the picture is up-side-down, or
    Rotate the monitor slowly.

    I think it has something to do with the shadowing of the background. I noticed that the top left corner is dark and bottom right corner is white. When I turn my head, those two corner flip, so the spinning direction changed? Just a guess.

  39. says

    by focusing on her nipples ath the exact moment she is 90 degrees left or right, I got her to swing back and forth in 180’s (half circles) without ever making a complete 360.
    I have hired her to be the star of my Musical: “A CHORUS LINE”

    We open tomorrow on YEW TOOB.

  40. says

    Unless you havea had a “SPLITTING HEADACHE”, both sides of your brain should be co-operating and you should be able to see her in full, living color. Enjoy.

  41. Tonton says

    oh lords.. now I read the hint, and all I have to do is look 5 centimeters to the side until I see she’s changed rotation, look back and she’s going in that direction afterwards, until I make her change again..

    My bad :D

  42. Izkata says

    I always see clockwise, no exceptions. Even in the link where the lines were added to try and force a view, both of them spin clockwise in my mind…

  43. Bene says

    it’s a hoax. when she’s spinning clockwise, her right leg is up. when she’s spinning counter-clockwise, her left leg is up. i imagine this thing shifts at random.

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